DENVER (CBS4) – Two separate shootings that are most likely gang-related left one person dead and two others injured following a peace rally in the Cole neighborhood Tuesday night.
The first shooting happened at 33rd Avenue and Krameria Street in North Park Hill. About an hour later another shooting happened at 35th Avenue and Williams Street in the Cole neighborhood.
Wednesday morning Sonny Jackson with Denver police said more investigating needs to be done, but it doesn’t appear the two shootings are related. Although they are possibly gang-related. Police said prior to the shootings they had already stepped up police presence in the area.
The shooting at 33rd and Krameria happened just before 9 p.m. and left one man in critical condition, but he’s expected to survive. Police said they don’t have a suspect description.
The second shooting at 35th and Williams happened at approximately 10 p.m. One man was killed and another was seriously injured, listed in critical condition. Police haven’t released any information on a possible suspect.
The shootings came just hours after a peace rally organized by City Councilman Albus Brooks at George Morrison Sr. Park off Martin Luther King Boulevard.
The rally was prompted by two other recent shootings that claimed the lives Abdul Rahim Muhammad, 61, and his great nephew, Nolan Ware, 22, who died after being shot while attending Muhammad’s funeral.
“You will not hold us hostage in our own neighborhood. We’re going to live right now and we’re going to be strong and we’re going to be leaders,” said Brooks.
The Boys and Girls Club location in that neighborhood has dealt with violence in the past but now said some parents are concerned about bringing their children to the center.
The location has about 120 children per day which is down since the string of violence began. The Boys and Girls Club is paying attention to what is happening outside and trying to maintain a positive atmosphere for those inside.
They believe giving children a safe place to go after school is paramount in gang prevention. Organizers said they’ve gone through similar issues in this neighborhood.
“Part of our job in working with young people in working with youth development is riding the storm and hopefully coming out on the back end of this with some lessons learned,” said Boys and Girls Club spokesman Jason Torrez.
CBS4 spoke with one resident who said he heard four gunshots Tuesday night and then women screaming. He said that, and other recent shootings, concern him — not for his own safety, but because of the children in the neighborhood.
“Bullets don’t have names on them and they can go anywhere and it sucks. There are little children, and I fear more for the 2, 3-year-olds that are over here,” Cole neighborhood resident Benjamin Panichello said.
People in the Cole neighborhood say they have never seen the gang violence so high.
“We can’t be walking around in fear. We just can’t,” Cole neighborhood resident Glen Miles said. “This is not part of the American dream. This is not it. And if we need help from the city councilman, the mayor or whoever … look, the bottom line is we need to target it and come up with a solution.”
CBS4’s Jeff Todd spoke with community leader Rev. Leon Kelly, executive director of Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives. Kelly said he thinks part of the problem is the gangs are being boxed in because of new residents.
“When you got elements that are being boxed in. This neighborhood used to be dominated by blacks, then it was dominated by Hispanics that caused a coexistence,” Kelly said. “Now we’re dominated by other groups coming in, again causing a collapse of room.”
Denver police say they have been working over the past several months to address gang violence in the Cole neighborhood.
“They seem to go in cycles, and what I’m seeing now is some of the kids who are involved in it; they’re younger, they’re more aggressive,” Kelly said.
Additional Information From The Denver Police Department
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